Sunday, November 29, 2009

Crime in the city

 Formating a bit screwed up.  Pity.

Article for the newsletter of the Florida Association of Asian Crime Investigators


The Reminisces of an Old Fart, well past his prime:

What webs we weave, when we practice to deceive.

Once upon a time, when the world was young and I was a fighter of crime, suppressor of evil and a bulwark for Democracy, it fell to my lot to re-investigate a crime.

After several days away from work, days spent a whoopin’ and a hollrin’ and a shoutin’ at the moon, I came into the office and looked at the reports of crimes recently committed. One such report was of an Aggravated Burglary, known in some circles as a Home Invasion Robbery. I noticed the victim, ethnic Vietnamese, listed his employment as “Unemployed Fisherman.” I thought to myself, ‘Anyone who has enough nuts to list himself as an unemployed fisherman, would wear a Sherman button to a Georgia picnic.’

Further reading of this report indicated $60,000.00[1] in cash; jewelry and other property had been stolen from this unemployed flounder assassin and his poor family, poor as church mice, living in a public housing unit. As I looked at the poorly written police report, the thought occurred to me there just might be more to this than the original investigating officer could, fathom, in his wildest dreams, There was indeed another, untold, story to be gleaned.

I went into that section of town wherein lived many ethnic Vietnamese people. A stop at a local coffee house and a cup of tea with some folks known to me as honest, upright citizens was a waste of time. They giggled, hid smiles behind their hands and shook their heads when I requested information. My next stop was a bar, frequented by robbers, rapists, burglars and ladies of little, if any, repute. They were more than happy to tell me the story.

The unemployed fisherman it seems was somewhat less than truthful as regards his profession. Fisherman he was; unemployed he was not. This gent was the owner/captain of a fishing vessel that threw its nets in the Gulf of Mexico. This was not a rowboat, but a fully appointed fishing trawler, my sources informed me. Smiling as they told the story, they said this captain and his merry crew pulled one day from the Gulf, a large package. When opened, this package was found to contain cocaine, a very large amount. They believed, and I feel no differently, that the U.S. Customs Service[2] was in pursuit of some dope smuggling malefactor and said coke was thrown overboard in an effort to escape lawful prosecution.

Our captain and his crew took this package as bounty of the sea, and the captain sold it.[3] When the time came to split the loot, he took half and gave his crew half, to be split among them. This did not please those who worked for him. The cocaine was not, you must understand, the fruit of their labor, of which the captain, as owner and commander was entitled to a much larger portion than his crew. The package of Controlled Dangerous Substance was, as it were, a Gift from God. Such gifts they felt should be “share and share alike” with all, including the captain, getting an equal share. They were unhappy and felt they had been wronged. As happens when men are unhappy, they took their sorrows and complaints to a local watering hole and began to consume Budweiser and bitch about their lot in life[4]. I was unable to find out who had the original idea to get even with the boss, but this was brought up and discussed until a plan was formulated. Some Vietnamese gang members known to someone in the crew, who had no doubt led an adventurous life as a youth, were consulted and told of the captain’s newly gained fortune. The gang members said something on the order of “Fear not. We shall even the score.” They did.

In the wee hours of the morning, the gangsters broke in the captain’s apartment, stole every thing of value, raped his wife and daughters, and made good their escape. In the family discussion that followed, before the police were called in, it was decided that the rapes would not be reported[5] and the true value of things stolen would not be told, but a much lesser value of $60,000.00 would be used for reporting purposes. They were afraid the police would think they had too much money. They were right.

Those who told me the tale knew, but would not tell, who the robbers were. “The hell with that guy,” I was told. “He deserved what he got. Bragging about having that much money is not right.[6]” I interviewed the victim and he denied the above account and stuck to his guns; he was telling nothing less than the complete truth to the police. Ha!

I made a call to an associate, who happened to be an I.R.S. Agent. After hearing the story, he requested a copy of the police report. As we all know, assisting other law enforcement agencies is part of the job of protecting and serving the public. I sent him that which he requested. Woe to the poor, unhappy boat captain. Robbed by the gangsters, and later by the I.R.S., for under reporting income. It seemed he reported on his tax forms he made almost nothing, being unemployed as he was. His newly acquired assets, as noted in the report he gave to the police, needed explaining. Woe indeed.

The moral of this story is twofold:
First Fold: Always deal fairly with your criminal associates.
B: When you’re assigned to investigate a crime, please do a nice job. If you don’t, your lieutenant will be angry.
©Lieutenant Jack Willoughby
N.O.P.D. (Ret.)
Scottsboro, Alabama
February 1999

[1]            If memory serves me correctly. For those nitpickers and anal-retentives reading this, make that 60K an “approximate” figure. Such people piss me off. I hate to write footnotes.
                  [2]                                    Your tax dollars at work.
[3]                  We know not where, nor to whom.
[4]                                    Their mood was not helped by the fact that Mrs. Captain had been shopping in the local morning market, displaying her new jewelry and telling one and all how clever her husband was, and how he had cheated his former friends and crew members. “How clever indeed,” said her friends, “is your husband, a man who brings such wealth from the face of a calm sea.”
[5]                                    Common among Vietnamese rape victims. They feel the same of being a victim of such an act will go poorly with them in the community.
[6]                                                There is a cultural lesson here to be learned. To understand what I’m talking                                                             about, I recommend you read everything ever written by William Lawrence  Cassidy.

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